Not Enough Coverage

By Wendell P. Simpson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 11, 2009

ATLANTA (BASN) — Nobody’s going to remember how Steve McNair died. They are going to remember why. McNair stormed out of tiny Alcorn State like a turbine-powered monster.

His tough, never-say-die attitude and rocket arm propelled him to the dizzying heights of NFL superstardom. His sterling reputation as one of the ‘good guys’ made him beloved.

But that gem-like rep was dashed to shards of cheap colored glass when it turned out the man was mortal after all. Like many powerful men whose positions often imbue them with the sense they are absolved from having to drive inside the lines like the rest of us, McNair straddled the lanes only to crash head-on into his own unfortunate demise.

Samson had Delilah. Clinton had Lewinski. McNair scrambled out of the pocket and got blindsided by Sahel Kazemi, a pretty, dark-eyed young chippy whose aspirations were longer than her reach — or her ability to handle the consequences.

According to the story, Kazemi was a waitress in a restaurant in which McNair and his family dined frequently. What we can conclude from subsequent events is that McNair must have paying close attention to all that shift in Kazemi’s backfield as she plied her trade, moving in and out between the eatery’s tables, because the biggest tip she got from the brother was a hell of a lot juicier than the standard 15% gratuity that comes with the check.

McNair’s affair was anything but discreet, which begs to wonder how Meshelle McNair actually missed it. It wasn’t as if the pair was holed up in some cheap, off-the-beaten-trail, backwoods Tennessee motor inn with the free HBO included.

Their romps were very public interactions conducted in very public places — like Vegas and the Bahamas — captured in digital images and posted on every cheesy tabloid site on the Internet.

In the meantime, Kazemi wasn’t in the game just for fun. She was a special teamer who wanted to start. She wasn’t going to be placated by the shiny Black Escalade in her driveway or the occasional cash prize that told the world she merely had a spot on the roster. Kazemi was going to nail her spot on the first team, and she was willing to mount an all-out blitz to get it.

Now, the great quarterbacks all have what’s known as ‘pocket presence’. It’s an instinct, an ability to recognize the pass rush and know when to hang in to try and complete the pass or when to just get rid of the ball to avoid the sack.

McNair trotted out onto the field to play in the Philanderer Bowl, but forgot everything he’d learned. His peripheral vision failed him and he never saw the blitz coming.

There’s been a lot of speculation in the aftermath of McNair’s untimely passing, but who really knows what was going on in his household or within the marriage? Meshelle’s not saying, but history and literature tell us that even Camelot held a few dark secrets; while experience tells us that any outside view of a relationship reveals very of its inner workings.

But here’s what everyone knows: nothing — NOTHING — ever happens in a vacuum.I’m not condoning McNair’s actions, nor am I condemning them, but the bottom line is, McNair should have seen what was coming and scrambled his ass out of the way.

It’s not like he hasn’t been around, and apparently, since Kazemi was accused of staking another of McNair’s side dimes, this wasn’t his first time in that particular kind of huddle.

There was a whole lot more at stake for McNair and his family than getting a piece of trim from some infatuated young gold digging groupie could ever conciliate. His children will have to live with a father’s legacy that will certainly mention his awesome achievements on the football field and in the community — but only after it glowers over his injudiciousness.

Discretion, my friends, is always the better part of valor.

It’s about instincts and pocket presence. Let’s forget for a second the subjective moral judgments that have ushered forth from a media and public that rarely demonstrates the kind of superhuman fealty they demand of others, or the fans’ maudlin sentimentality for a fallen star athlete that sets context aside: McNair is dead because he didn’t handle his business by applying in real life the prudence and instincts that served him so well on the football field.